Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Mike Deodato
Color Artist: Frank Martin
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Release Date: 01/25/17
Rating: Parental Advisory
Plot: After Thanos’s massacre on Gilgrath, the Shi’ar Imperial Guard arrived to arrest him. As Thanos fights the Imperial Guard, they notice that Thanos’s diminished strength . When Gladiator joins the fight, Thanos is easily knocked out and the issue ends with Thanos in custody.
Story: While the main focus of this issue is the fight between Thanos and the Imperial Guard, Jeff Lemire does touch on Thanos’s history. During the issue, we see four characters answering questions about their experiences with Thanos. I enjoyed these segments because they gave the reader an abridged history of Thanos. These segments are perfect for people who are reading this title because they want to know more about Thanos before seeing Avengers: Infinity War.
My favorite of the interviews was the final one with Gladiator, the head of the Imperial Guard. The timing of this interview is what makes it great. The interview ends when Gladiator gets the call to join the fight, and the next scene is Gladiator punching Thanos in the face. Also the last page is very impactful. The entire issue recaps how most of the galaxy fears and hates Thanos. Then we are left with an image of Thanos unconscious and beaten.
The only drawback with this issue is it does very little to advance the plot of the story arc (Thanos dying, Thane assembling a team to kill his father). While this issue allows new readers to learn more about Thanos, people who already know these things may be bored.
Art: Since this issue is mostly one giant fight scene, the artwork is a big factor. Luckily that’s not a problem for Mike Deodato and Frank Martin. The fight has some visually powerful moments. The way Thanos strikes back after someone gets the upper hand against him is awesome. Also Martin does an impressive job switching the color tones in between the fight and the interview scenes. Speaking of the interviews, the nine grid layout for these parts gives us a great contrast to the battle scene layouts, which are all over the place so to speak.
Verdict: While this issue did not spend much time on the main plot, it did show us why Thanos has been such a major galactic threat. Despite dying we still saw Thanos hold his own against the Shi’ar Imperial Guard. Plus the interview scenes helped the reader learn how much the galaxy despises Thanos. Overall if someone wants to know more about Thanos before Avengers: Infinity War, then this is a series they should be reading.